7 Reasons Why Garment Businesses Need a PMTS System

Application of the Predetermined Motion Time System (PMTS) in the garment industry started decades ago. The primary object of a PMTS software was to establish an accurate standard time of manual works in the sewn product industry. There are other benefits of using a PMTS system. Still, in the global garment industry, a little number of garment manufacturers use the PMTS database.

In this post, I have shared the top 7 reasons why you should adopt this technology for establishing standard time for your business growth.

7 Reasons why apparel businesses need a PMTS system

  1. To establish accurate Standard Time (Product SAM)
  2. To calculate accurate labor cost
  3. To benchmark factory efficiency and Line Efficiency
  4. To establish SAM prior to the production or sampling is initiated
  5. To improve the operational method and processes
  6. To improve capacity planning
  7. To train industrial engineers on time and motion study

1. Establish an accurate standard time

There are a couple of ways for establishing garment operation SAM. These days, factories are more comfortable working with Standard Time of apparel products. With the operations' SAM and garment SAM, garment factories can achieve their goal. They can predict bottlenecks in a production line. Standard Time helps them in calculating production targets, line balancing, line layout, and factory performance calculation.

Now the question is - how your factory establishes garment SAM. Is it a Time Study method? Do you know that SAM calculated through the Time Study method is subjective and you don’t know if the SAM really represents the accurate standard time?

To avoid the error in the standard time used in your factory, use PMTS systems like TimeSSD. You may be assuming that a lot of investment is required for purchasing such a system, but it is actually not costly.

2. Helps in calculating the correct labor cost

I don’t need to tell you about the importance of labor costing in the apparel business. If you get the accurate labor cost, you can do the best pricing of an order. When direct labor cost is estimated using the accurate standard time (SAM), you are safe in pricing your product (FOB). Because you know you will not lose by quoting an accurate price to the buyer but you can show your transparency as a necessary brick for the trust.

By using and calculating garment SAM using software, you can prepare the labor cost of the coming orders in advance. You don’t need to wait for the garment sampling and measuring the average time of making the garment.

Another challenging job in the piece-work factory to decide the operation rate for sewing operators and other workers. When you know the accurate SAM of each operation at the start of the production, you can set the rate for operations. Operators will be knowing how many garments they need to make to earn good money. If you prefer average operation cycle time and time study based SAM, operators will try to show how difficult the operation is and it takes time to complete a garment. They will convince you operations took a higher time than your standard time.

I think you like to get rid of these challenges.

3. Benchmarking factory efficiency and line efficiency

The method we practice for calculating line efficiency and individual operator efficiency, in garment manufacturing, uses the standard operation time (SAM). 

An operator’s efficiency is calculated as 
(SAM produced by an operator/ Total Minutes worked)*100. 

If your calculated SAM is higher than the Standard time, you will get higher efficiency.

With an inaccurate SAM, you will get an incorrect efficiency. The incorrect value can be less or more than the correct one. See an example in this video.

If you want to know the real efficiency of your factory or an operator, you need to use accurate SAM. By using a PMTS system you can benchmark your factory efficiency. The PMTS software uses MTM2 motion codes to establish the garment SAM.

4. To establish garment SAM prior to the bulk production and sampling

Garment SAM is needed before you start production, prior to sourcing of raw materials for some processes like - capacity planning and production scheduling, labor costing for the upcoming orders, and in estimating machine and manpower requirements for a style.

How do you manage these activities without a standard time of a style?

If you need to get the SAM through time study method, you need to wait until the sampling of the style. And you know, sampling operators do not work the same way your production floor worker will perform all the operation. You are compromising with the standard time when you are dependent on the sampling SAM.

5. Improving the operational method and processes

The standard time of an operation depends on many factors. Like panel pickup distance, use of hands, placement of the panels, use of attachment & guides, and number bursts used in the operation cycle time, workstation layout.

When an industrial engineer uses MTM2 motion codes to establish standard time, he can visualize the best possible workstation layout and anticipate operators' hand movement to handle the work.

In practice, different operators may use different motion sequences for performing a task. Engineers can prepare motion sequences for performing an operation, which is easier and takes less time to complete the operation. This way engineers can reduce cycle time by correcting hand movement during stitching a garment. You can set-up a standard operating procedure for performing a sewing operation. If you do that with a PMTS software, the detailed method is documented by default.

6. Improving capacity planning

Factory capacity planning is another essential activity garment factories need to do prior to bulk production. Key data you need for line-wise capacity planning is product SAM of the upcoming styles. For accurate capacity planning, you need accurate standard time - as mentioned earlier you getting accurate SAM is possible when you establish standard time using a PMTS software.

Another benefit of PMTS is that you can do capacity planning before doing sample making. Inaccurate SAM generates delays in capacity planning which accumulates in time, resulting in overtime work and delayed delivery.

Related Post: Role of SAM in production planning and control

7. To train industrial engineers on time and motion study

In work-study, understanding operations, ergonomics, workers' hand & body movements, micromotions are essential components. In the institutes from where young industrial engineers do their graduation or do certificate courses, don’t get a chance to use a PMTS system. There is an exception - at NIFT graduates are trained in timeSSD.

Industrial engineers working in a garment factory must be aware of the work-study essentials. By using a PMTS, you can train your IEs on time and motion study. Even self-learning of motion codes and establishing SAM is possible with the timeSSD system.


Revolution is happening in the apparel manufacturing sector through the digitization of data, IoT, and adding automation. Companies who can bear the cost of investment in technology solutions are becoming smart manufacturers. The Predetermined Motion Time System (PMTS) system is one of the key components of becoming a smart manufacturer. To become an industry 4.0 factory, with the other advanced technologies, factories should adopt a system that can establish an accurate standard time of the product and operations. 

But this is not necessary that only the smart factories and big garment manufacturers need the PMTS software. All the garment manufacturers who are serious about measuring factory performance accurately and want to optimize direct labor cost should use a PMTS system. 

If you take this in a constructive way and look at the benefits of the PMTS system in the apparel manufacturing industry, you will find more reasons for embracing this technology. 

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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